Beyond 2012 - an integrated Design Story

Old Ford Ground Water Pumping Station
A built environment story

“The facility could have been a large single building but we broke it down into a series of cubes, which would sit as a community of sculptures.”

Lyall, Bills and Young Architects

Tell us about the early design brief

The brief called for a structure to house the engineering plant and reactivate an existing nineteenth century industrial artesian well. The structure had to sit discreetly in a designated nature reserve and meet the Olympic Delivery Authority’s architectural quality requirements.

What inspired your design concept?

The facility could have been a large single building but we broke it down into a series of cubes, which would sit as a community of sculptures in the surrounding wooded landscape.

What challenges did you face along the way?

To produce a building to suit the budget and the operational requirements of Thames Water, whilst aspiring to be being a good architectural design. It was also a challenge to design a building that would be unoccupied and rarely maintained. We chose self-finished materials such as Cor-ten and concrete, with a low maintenance green roof.

How did it feel to be involved in such an important British project?

The project was a good opportunity to demonstrate that utility buildings can aspire to be well designed and aesthetically pleasing. The building contributes to the environment in a very tangible way and looks good whilst doing it; it’s an enigmatic, thought-provoking structure.

For example, the central well head enclosure is surrounded by a perforated cage of Cor-ten. The cut-out images are based upon a quick snap shot of the surrounding woodland trees in winter taken by John Lyall.

Agency

Company name
Lyall, Bills and Young Architects

Project
Old Ford Ground Water Pumping Station

Website
lbyarchitects.com

Project team

Neil Young

Chris Bills

John Lyall

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